51's Modified Madness  Presented by Advance Auto Parts  Compiled by Mike Twist
North, South, Dirt and Asphalt...All The Latest From the Mod-ern Racing World
OPEN SHOWS: ROUND TWO OF ALL STAR CHALLENGE IS SET

The green flag will fly this Saturday, June 7 for the second race of the $20,000 WaterSnoGo All-Star Modified Showdown four race series at All-Star Speedway in southern New Hampshire.

Seuss added, "A race like this is more exciting because the competition is strong from everywhere. Any chance you get to race with Mike Stefanik and Eric Beers is fun. You get to prove what you can do on a smaller track, where cars that don't have the $90,000 horsepower are able to compete. Last time it was pretty even for all series competitors."

Due to a rainout at All-Star on May 31, track owner Bobby MacArthur has elected to add the rained-out 75-lap Super Late Model (Pro Stock) event to the night's activities on June 7. This means that there will be two premiere divisions of racing in addition to the weekly support divisions of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competing on Saturday night.

The WaterSnoGo All-Star Modified Showdown Round #2 is upon us. Modified heats that are scheduled to begin at 6:00 PM, plus a top six redraw, will determine the starting lineup. Please join us to help make this a night to remember at All-Star Speedway on Saturday June 7. To get updated event information, log onto www.all-starspeedway.com.

RoC MODS: MAHONING VALLEY UP NEXT

Heavy downpours along with thunder storms hit the Lehighton area around 10:30am and with the National Weather Service calling for much of the same throughout the remainder of the day and evening, management at Mahoning Valley Speedway made the decision to cancel Saturday's racing program.
Nine-Time NASCAR Champion Mike Stefanik is the current leader of the WaterSnoGo Series, having won the Laticrete 150 back on May 10. He won that race with a 1996 Troyer Chassis, which is further proof at All-Star that a combination of driver ability and handling are the keys to success. Having more money to race means little at this quarter-mile facility.

With temperatures expected to be at least 20 degrees warmer for this event, teams that ran well on May 10 will have to adapt to the weather change to be successful.

Another change will be the length of the race. This June 7 event will be 100 green flag laps. Teams who competed in the first event may elect to purchase just one set of tires to race on, while using tires bought on May 10 to practice on. With this reduced cost factor, a majority of the 32 teams are expected to return for this special event, with some newcomers adding their names to the 2008 WaterSnoGo Series history book.

The northern contingent of Andy Seuss, Kirk Alexander and Jon McKennedy will be looking for a $5,000 victory against the likes of Stefanik, Matt Hirschman and Ted Christopher to name a few.

Seuss, who finished third and then second in the 2007 and 2008 May All-Star Open Shows is hoping to improve on those finishes.  He stated, "I've wanted to win a big Modified race at All-Star since I started racing. It's my home track, and I love driving there.

"We have a little bit better program going into this race. We know what we have to do to get that much better so we can come away winners."

But they should also be aware of underdog drivers such as Chris Pasteryak, Brett Gonyaw, Jimmy Kuhn and Tommy Cravenho. Kuhn nearly won the May 10 event, while Cravenho finished fourth with his SK Modified, and Pasteryak wound up sixth. 

It's a rarity to see this much talent at a quarter-mile track where the driver behind the wheel is such a big factor in the success of his team. This is a race you won't want to miss whether you are a fan of the Modified division, or a fan of all types of auto racing.
The focus now turns to next week's big Race of Champions DART Asphalt Tour 75-lap Modified event. The paved 1⁄4-mile is the smallest track the tour races on yet is considered one of the most exciting stops nonetheless.

All indications are that a solid field of competitors will be filling the pits, led by current RoC point leader Matt Hirschman from nearby Northampton. Hirschman, who won the RoC Tour opener at Oswego back on May 24th,  is hungry to get his first ever Mahoning win.

Other top RoC guns that will be heading into Mahoning and vying for the $2800 first place payoff include former track champions and Eric Beers and John Markovic, Pete Brittain, Jan and Mike Leaty, Tommy Farrell III and Rusty Smith to name a few.

Current Mahoning point leader Don Wagner leads the brigade of the home track stars with other notables as Chip Santee, John Bennett, Rick Reichenbach and Mike Quinn as well as a host of others who always make things tough on the outsiders.
Matt Hirschman won the RoC opener.  Can he do it again this weekend?
Time trials will be run to set the top 12 starting positions in the feature. The remainder of the field will go to heat races followed by the B Mains. There will be a special paid practice hot lap session from 1 to 4 pm on Saturday.

Also on the card will be regular features for the Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro4 Late Models, Factory Stocks and 4-Cylinder Stocks.

Gates open at 5:00pm and racing is set to start at 7:00.

BOWMAN GRAY: BROWN WINS AND KEEPS POINT LEAD

Double Points Night. Merely mentioning the words gets drivers' stomachs churning and their adrenaline pumping.
  
In the Farm Bureau Insurance Modified Series, Tim Brown of Cana, Va. took victory in the first race on Saturday. Brown qualified on the pole for the fifth time in 2008 and dominated the field during the race.

Tim Brown is a regular on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and he currently leads the points at Bowman Gray Stadium.
Mike Stefanik fought a hard battle with Andy Seuss in the closing laps of the last All Star Open show. (Top)  Stefanik won the battle and ended the night in victory lane (Bottom)   (Jim Dupont Photos)
Rick Blanchard of Pascoag, RI, topped a strong Mini Stock field. It was a dominating victory for R.J. Marcotte of Millville, MA, in the TIS Modifieds.

Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT, took down top honors in the hotly contested Sunoco Modified main event to open the 2008 regular season. Josh Steeves held the top spot for a single lap before relinquishing the lead to a hard-charging Pitkat. Once out front, Pitkat quickly started to extend his lead.

Tommy Cravenho ran in third with Keith Rocco applying heavy pressure. Rocco looked high and low for room to race around Cravenho. Rocco was finally able to take the spot away with a pass on lap 12. A spin by Geoff Gernhard necessitated the first caution.

The low groove was the preferred line on the restart with Pitkat resuming his lead. Rocco
moved into second followed by Kerry Malone. Bert Marvin rocketed into the fourth spot
followed by Danny Cates. Cravenho was shuffled back to sixth and Steeves outside of
the top ten.

A spin by Ricky Shawn brought out the event's second caution on lap 16. The restart
pitted rivals Pitkat and Rocco on the front row. Pitkat got the advantage. Malone got a
run but contact with Rocco slowed his momentum. Entering turn three on lap 18, Rocco
moved alongside Pitkat. The two ran side-by-side exiting turn four. Pitkat was able to
maintain the lead after contact with Rocco. Marvin joined the fray in third.

A separate incident in turn three brought out the caution. The top four cars of Pitkat,
Rocco, Marvin and Malone ran in a tight pack. Rocco made a quick bid at the lead but
had to settle back into second behind Pitkat. Bobby Grigas was beginning to make his
run toward the head of the pack. Contact between Grigas and Malone allowed Pitkat and
Rocco to get away from third running Malone.

Rocco continued to chase Pitkat while Malone ran alone in third. Marvin trailed at a distance in fourth. With only two laps remaining, Anthony Burr and Dave Salzarulo were involved in a wreck in turn one. Pitkat rocketed out to the lead on the single file restart with two to go. Rocco took chase but could not muster up a challenge. Pitkat took a narrow victory over Rocco. Malone finished third over Marvin and Grigas.

SK MODIFIEDS: BO OUTGUNS TC AT STAFFORD

Friday night, May 30th was CARQUEST Dealer Night at Stafford Speedway with fireworks in the air and on the track as the Whelen All-American Series returned to action.  Bo Gunning outdueled Ted Christopher to take the win in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event.
“This was a good night for us,” said Tim Brown. “This car was really hooked up.”
  
Brown finished 7th place in the second race, keeping him in the points lead. Bobby Hutchens of Lexington was able to finish fourth and fifth, keeping him relatively even with Brown. Burt Myers of Walnut Cove, however, was the one who faired the best on Double Points Night: two third place finishes move Myers up to second place in the points - tied with Hutchens.
  
Lee Jeffreys of High Point, although the winner of the second Modified race, slipped down one spot on the points ladder: from fourth to third. Jason Myers of Walnut Cove rockets from ninth in the points to fifth. Robert Jeffreys of Winston-Salem, who was plagued with mechanical problems, falls from fifth in the points to 11th.

SUNOCO MODIFIEDS: PITKAT PICKS 'EM OFF AT THOMPSON

Thursday Night Thunder commenced under the bright lights at Thompson International Speedway. Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT, scored the victory in the ultra-competitive Sunoco Modified division. For the second year in a row, Larry Barnett of Ledyard, CT, was crowned the champion of the Limited Sportsman division's marquee 50-lapper. Veteran Fred Astle, Jr. of Westport, MA, ran to the checkers in the Pro Stocks while Jeff Zuidema of N. Brookfield, MA, made it two in a row in Late Model action.
The 40-lap SK Modified® feature came down to an old-fashioned shoot-out between the two winningest drivers in Stafford SK Modified® history.  Bo Gunning and Ted Christopher, who are also two of the most tenured drivers in Stafford's SK Modified® division, turned back the clock and put on a show that was reminiscent of years gone by with Gunning outdueling Christopher in the final laps to take the victory.

Richie Pallai, Jr. led the first lap before giving way to Eric Berndt, who held the lead until lap-7 when Todd Owen took over the top spot.  Owen held the lead until lap-16 when he and Berndt made contact on a restart that saw both cars spin, which handed the race lead over to Gunning.  Once the race went back to green after several lap-16 restart situations, Gunning and Kenny Horton began to pull away from the field. 

Christopher, who had earlier been black flagged for rough riding, was back into the top-5 and was running the top-2 cars down lap by lap.  Christopher took second from
Horton on lap-30 and set his sights on Gunning for the final 10-laps.  Several times Christopher nearly had a pass made, but couldn't complete a pass.  The two cars made contact in turn 2 on lap-37, but heady driving by both competitors kept the action going.  Christopher reeled Gunning in for one last try at victory, but Gunning was too strong to be overtaken.  Horton finished third behind Gunning and Christopher, with Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco rounding out the top-5.

DIRT: PLANCK TEAMS WITH SUNY CANTON FOR '08 SEASON

Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series star Dale Planck has been competing behind the wheel of a race car for well over half his life. His teenage sons are now following in their father's tire tracks.

Together in 2008 the Planck family will be 'driving for education' as Dale Planck Racing has recently formulated a unique partnership with SUNY Canton. This season third-generation drivers Steve Planck, 18, and Brandon Planck, 16, will share driving experiences in the DPR/SUNY Canton race shop with the eldest son, and soon-to-be Cortland (NY) High School graduate,  planning to attend SUNY Canton in the Fall.  

“When we started visiting colleges, SUNY Canton stood out and instantly became Steve's first choice. We're proud to be a part of their college family and have SUNY Canton be a part of our DPR racing family. As our boys are approaching college age it's fitting for our team to endorse higher education. It's essential in today's world to continue your education broadening your knowledge or define your skills and abilities in whatever career path you choose” Dale said.

While Dale, 37, has been showcasing his own talents aboard Carey Terrance's big block Rez X Racing no. 77x Grow It Hydroseeding-Action Race Parts entry which has carried him to second-place in the current Advance Series Big-Block Modified point standings, youngest son Brandon has so far logged valuable track time in the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified division at Cayuga County Fair Speedway and Rolling Wheels Raceway Park. Steve is expected to make his debut steering a brand-new SUNY Canton Teo Modified in early June at Fulton.

“The Sportsman car is really a filler until we get the Big-Block ready to go,” noted
Dale, who said his goal this year is to have just one Modified for the boys to alternate
behind the wheel throughout the season. “Brandon's red no. 77x Bicknell car is the
same one Steve drove last year, just with a new body. Steve will have a blue Teo with
a Kevlar engine and use the number 77. We're gearing up for Fulton's tour race but not
rushing the deal. When I build a car I build them right, also taking the opportunity to
teach the boys as we go and that's why it takes a little longer than most," Dale said.
“I'll be skipping around this year with my Rez X team but still want to run Fulton as
much as possible so it's just a matter of time and I'll be racing against Steve in our
family car there.”

“This is definitely a family operation; family fun day is race day. Right now we have
the means to field a car and everybody works hard at it. They'll find out this season if
they really like it and want to stick with it. My kids have had to sacrifice because of my
own career as I've never had the means to hire a crew and take them racing. Thankfully,
this year with the sponsorship package that Mike (Perry) has spearheaded for us, they
can get a lot of seat time and earn some exposure if they do well,” Planck added.

“SUNY Canton is excited to associate itself as sponsor of Dale Planck Racing and especially Stephen Planck who is entering the SUNY Canton Mechanical Engineering program this fall,” said Michael Perry, College Association Executive Director at SUNY Canton. “With an outstanding Associates Degree program in Automotive Technology as well as one year certificate programs in Motorsports, Automotive Service Advisers and Service Technicians, it's a natural for the college to be a sponsor of a driver like Stephen along with local racing facilities such as Can-Am Motorsports Park and Thunder Alley Speedway. The campus is excited to work this year with Steve and these (DIRTcar) racing facilities as sponsor of the SUNY Canton Street Stock Series as track officials continue to give SUNY Canton students the opportunity to participate in the Series.”

Added Dale, “It's great that SUNY Canton has gotten involved with motorsports marketing. It reaches many young people and encourages them to be thinking about advancing their schooling beyond high school. They have various educational programs to offer and we are glad to be partnered with them this race season.”

PRO 4 MODIFIEDS: IANNARELII ON A RAIL AROUND THE BOWL

Another weekend of rain in the forecast left many Pro Four Modifieds of New England teams waiting until the last minute before making the trek to The New Waterford Speedbowl. Kraze Korlacki Speed Equipment of Seekonk, MA, sponsored this week's feature race. Although the weather forecast was uncertain, we fielded 17 cars for this event, the highest car count so far this season. With many teams still scrambling to get going for the 2008 season, car counts should only climb with future races. We have still yet to have many of our veteran drivers bring their race cars from a longer winters nap!

It was great to see the hauler of Dan Meservey's #11a arrive for the first time this year. Many of the Pro Four Crews converged on his hauler to help him unload and get ready for the feature.

The crews and drivers seemed to all be in great spirits and even through the rush of arriving near the start of practice and quick turn around for the heat races. The drivers brought their A-games this weekend, as most of the racing was Green to checker and caution free. Unfortunately for rookie Pro Four Driver #83 Franky Perry, his string of bad luck continued as he lost a wheel during practice and the damage ended his evening early.

Each of the heat races showed that the drivers came to race. No cautions slowed the heat races and the fans were given some great side by side racing that the New Waterford Speedbowl is known for.

The feature race was a showcase of the drivers and their abilities to run this tough track at high speed. The #25 of Tyler Anderson was on the pole for the feature race with the #12 of Rob Richardi, Jr. right beside him. When the green flag was shown on lap #1, it was Richardi that led the way across the stripe. He led for the first five laps until the #27 of Kevin Iannarelli powered his way to the front. These two drivers would be pushing each other for most of the race followed by Tyler Anderson in the #25, Phil Lausier in the #07, and the #10 driven by Brian Vincent.

While these drivers battled for the top five positions through most of the race, battles for position in the entire field gave the fans some great moves to watch. George Sherman, driving the #13 and the #4 of Cory Cleary were locked in a fierce battle throughout the entire race. Even the Limited Pro Four drivers were showing that they were taking no prisoners and not giving up ground easily as the #34 of Mark Giordano and the #16 driven by Stan Mertz were locked in a duel with Mertz waiting for Giordano to slip. The only caution of the race came on lap 22 when #34 Giordano went into turn one with #16 Mertz in close pursuit. Unfortunately, #16 Mertz dove into the corner too hot and hit #34 causing him to spin. While Giordano was able to continue, Mertz was given the black flag for fluid leaking from his car.

At the same time that all the competitors were racing together in battles all over the track, the #1m of “Stormin” Norm Wrenn was storming his way through the field after starting scratch on the field. By lap 19, Wrenn had worked his way into the top 5 and had his sights set on the top position. On the Lap 23 restart, Wrenn powered by the #12 of Richardi and then went after the #27 of Kevin Iannarelli. Wrenn would have to settle for second place this evening as Iannarelli's car seemed to be on rails as he took the checkered flag for tonight's Kraze Korlacki Speed Equipment 25 lap feature race.





Woody Pitkat in victory lane at Thompson.  (TIS Photo)
Bo Gunning in victory lane at Stafford.  (SMS Photo)
Brandon Planck  (DIRT / Jay Fish Photo)